What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia Impacts Every Part of Your Life
Chronic pain can appear in various forms, impacting people in different ways. While some forms of chronic pain are the result of injury, others are because of an underlying condition. Regardless of the cause, chronic pain can drastically impact your overall quality of life. One common cause of chronic pain is fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia affects roughly 10 million people in the United States, impacting women at a much higher rate than men. Characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, this chronic pain condition often comes with fatigue, memory issues, and mood swings. As you can imagine, the effects of it have an impact on various parts of your life.
It is just one of many conditions that lead to chronic pain. However, many people do not understand it as well as they do other conditions. After all, this pain is more complicated than other forms of chronic pain. Healthcare experts believe that this condition affects how your brain processes pain signals, amplifying pain sensations.
Fortunately, with the help of expert pain management doctors, there are ways to treat and manage this condition. If you experience chronic pain because of fibromyalgia, give the Frisco pain management clinic at Texas Partners Healthcare Group a call today. We will craft a unique and personalized treatment plan for you.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a complex pain condition. Many healthcare providers and researchers are not quite sure what causes it. However, many doctors believe the cause to be a multiple-hit theory, meaning it is the combination of factors.
Typically, when you get hurt, nerve signals will travel from the injured location to your brain, which leads to feelings of pain. These sensations are vital because they let the brain know something is wrong.
However, those with this condition feel painful sensations all over their body, even when they are not hurt or sick. This pain is chronic. Many doctors theorize that those with this condition have more cells that carry pain signals to the brain than usual. That would explain why these sensations are so frequent and so intense.
It also means that minor injuries like bumps and bruises hurt far more than they should. However, many things can cause the body’s pain signals to function incorrectly.
As we have mentioned, healthcare experts are not quite sure what causes fibromyalgia. After all, different people report different feelings and triggers. In many cases, people experience more than one cause.
However, there are a few common fibromyalgia causes, such as:
- Genetics: In many cases, fibromyalgia runs in the family, so many pain management doctors believe that genetic mutations lead to people to be more susceptible to developing the disorder. Additionally, some genes can cause you to feel more anxious and depressed, which worsens pain.
- Infections: There are a handful of diseases that can disrupt the pain signals sent to your brain. Illnesses like the flu, pneumonia, Salmonella, and more can trigger this chronic pain condition or worsen fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Physical or Emotional Trauma: Going through a traumatic event (whether physical or emotional) can trigger fibromyalgia. Events such as physical or emotional abuse, car accidents, and more can lead to the development of this condition. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often linked to this condition.
- Stress: Similar to trauma, stress can leave long-lasting effects on your body, such as hormonal changes and changes in mood. Many effects of stress can also contribute to fibromyalgia.
Many healthcare providers believe that this chronic pain condition either causes the brain to lower the pain threshold or causes nerves to overreact to pain signals. Either way, there are many causes.
Fibromyalgia causes you to hurt all over. Patients often describe this widespread pain as a dull ache that lasts for months on end. It occurs on both sides of the body, above and below the waist.
Along with this pain, other fibromyalgia symptoms include:
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping for long periods without feeling rested
- Widespread muscles pain (commonly felt in the abdomen, neck, and back)
- Mood swings
- Depression and anxiety
- Memory issues
- Muscle spasms
- Trouble focusing (also known as “fibro fog”)
- Bladder problems
- Tingling sensations in extremities
- Muscle and joint tightness
In most cases, these symptoms last for weeks or months. This pain can range from mild to severe, always impacting someone’s quality of life.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact the pain management doctors at Texas Partners Healthcare Group and let us help you find pain relief.
Unfortunately, certain factors can increase your risk of developing fibromyalgia or a flare-up of symptoms. Stress, injuries, or illnesses can cause your symptoms to flare-up.
Some risk factors to be aware of include:
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop this condition, although experts are not sure why.
- Age: Middle-aged adults are more likely to develop this chronic pain condition. Your risk increases as you get older. Children can develop the condition, however.
- Family History: As we mentioned earlier, fibromyalgia is genetic.
- Disease: Conditions such as lupus and arthritis increase your risk of developing this condition.
In the past, doctors would diagnose a patient with fibromyalgia if they experienced widespread pain in at least 11 out of 18 trigger points around their body.
Common trigger points included:
- The back of the head
- Tops of the shoulders
- Upper chest
- Outer elbows
- And more
However, after 2016 revisions to the fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria, healthcare providers may diagnose you with the condition if you’ve had pain in four out of the five regions of pain as defined in this revision.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition. However, there are plenty of fibromyalgia treatments that can help you find pain relief. These treatments aim to reduce your symptoms while improving your quality of life.
Some of these treatments include:
- Therapy: A variety of different therapies can also reduce the effect of fibromyalgia. Physical therapy can help improve your strength, flexibility, and stamina, while occupational therapy can help you adjust aspects of your life to help you perform specific tasks without putting too much stress on your body. Additionally, counseling can also help you manage your feelings of anxiety, depression, and any other negative emotions, which worse your symptoms.
- Lifestyle Changes: To reduce the level of pain and discomfort, you might need to make lifestyle changes. Exercising regularly, eating a healthier diet, and getting enough sleep are all excellent ways to reduce symptoms. You can also reduce your stress levels by meditating, practicing yoga, or getting a massage. Remember, pace yourself. You do not want to put added stress on your body.
Fibromyalgia is a common chronic pain condition that plagues millions of people every year. It’s a complex condition that impacts your body in various ways. Many healthcare professionals do not understand what causes this condition. However, even though it can be painful and reduce your quality of life, countless treatment methods can help you reduce this pain.
If you struggle with fibromyalgia, do not wait. Give the pain management doctors at Texas Partners Healthcare Group a call today.